Anchorage limits sale of cold medicines used to make meth

Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2005

ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage Assembly passed a law limiting the sale of over-the-counter cold medicines containing ingredients that can be used to make the illegal drug crystal methamphetamine.

Meth, also known as crank, ice or crystal, is a powerful stimulant that can be smoked, snorted, swallowed or injected. It contains pseudoephedrine, found in over-the-counter cold medications.

The 11-member Assembly voted unanimously to bar stores from selling more than nine grams of the drugs ephedrine, psuedoephedrine or phenylpropanolamine at one time to individuals. That's about the amount in three packages of cold medication.

Stores also will be required to keep the medicines behind a counter or locked in a display case.

Businesses that plan to resell the drugs still may buy them in bulk at wholesale stores such as Costco or Sam's Club. Those purchases will be logged in a registry available to police.

Methamphetamine - long a problem on the West Coast - made its way across the country in the last decade, often taking hold in rural areas, where it's usually made because the process creates a noticeable stench.

But use of the drug is also becoming a problem in a number of urban areas.

Anchorage's restrictions, which take effect Jan. 1., follow a similar statewide proposal that failed in the Legislature.

Votes on a proposal to limit the sale of such drugs in Mat-Su are still being counted. Those election results are expected to be certified by next week.

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